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peranders 28th November 2007 02:19 PM

Altium library concept?
I'm trying to understand the basic concept with parts in Altium.

Normally you have three elements, a schematic symbol (NPN transistor), a footprint (TO92) and a definition how the schematic symbol is related to the layout symbol (BC547B), a part, part type, type, component (many names).

So, I need to draw only _one_ symbol of each in order to create 100's of TO92 type transistors.

Altium has this: The schematic symbol is at the same time the "part" and to this footprints are assigned. So I have to have 100's of schematic symbols for equally many types?

The alias function is only multiple names, right? How can I use aliases pracically if I want to make i.e a resistor library with article numbers for each resistor value?

My real question is the most pratical strategy to start with some sort of order with article numbers on each part?

peranders 29th November 2007 02:46 PM

Any opinions? :scratch:

BWRX 29th November 2007 03:09 PM

It seems not many people have used or worked with Altium. The company I work for is looking to switch from OrCAD to Altium, but I don't get to play with it until we actually purchase it (which may be a little while). Does Altium have good help files or tutorials? That would be the first place I'd check.

peranders 29th November 2007 07:24 PM

The documentiation is excellent and they have also lot's of videos here

Dave 29th November 2007 07:51 PM


I use Altium and Protel 99SE all the time.
What you what to do is a create one schematic symbol for say an NPN transistor, each pin on the symbol has a name on a number. Give names B, C and E but also make the numbers B, C and E.
Then for the footprints you would have say TO220-BJT, SOT23-BJT etc. The PADs will have numbers B, C and E.
Do the same for MOSFETs, you only need two schematic symbols, one for N-channel another for P-channel and then have as many MOSFET footprint T0220-MOS etc as you need all with pads labeled D, G, S.

I have found this works best and you don't need as many footprints as you might think.

peranders 29th November 2007 08:12 PM

You mean you don't use numbers at all? I'll gather this may be a trick to make things work.

Speaking of which, is it possible to move the pin name and pin number in the library editing?

orangeshasta 4th December 2007 04:00 PM


Speaking of which, is it possible to move the pin name and pin number in the library editing?
I've actually been trying to do that here at work for a while now today, and at this point I'm pretty sure the answer is "No." What I've done to circumvent this limitation is to just put text strings on my schematic component where necessary. Those can then be formatted, moved, and color-changed however you'd like.

Seems odd that the developers of such an expensive software package ($12k or so :bigeyes: ) wouldn't think to include that feature.

orangeshasta 4th December 2007 04:12 PM

Also, with regards to your original question: Dave's got the right idea. Make one component symbol for, say, a resistor - then create all the different resistor footprints you might need, and associate them all with the component. Then you can just change the "Value" parameter to set the value of the individual part when it's placed on the schematic, and you can choose the footprint at that time as well.
For other components like transistors, the same technique works - only I'd put the transistor type as the "Comment." Or, if you prefer, you can define another parameter "PartNumber" or something to that effect.

Not really a trick to make things work - just the way Altium chooses to implement its libraries.

peranders 11th December 2007 01:36 PM

It seems that I should use a database library, in my case an Excel file. I'm not sure though if the schematic library must contain all fields in the database?

So far I have been able to connect to the database but have succeeded to update any fields yet.

peranders 31st December 2007 07:29 AM

I have investigated the database library feature and it seems to be what I'm looking for altough I would have prefered a bit harder linking or help between the database and the library files. Many things must be in your head and you must type in the data with precision.

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